I have to admit: after working in a completely different wing of action motorsports for most of my career thus far, I lost track of both Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross for quite a while. This was the first season for both that I was able to really get back into both of them.
I feel like I couldn’t have gotten back in at a better time.
Sure, the seasons themselves might not have been the most dramatic. Jason Anderson ran away with the 450SX title after Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin both missed a race early, and they couldn’t quite whittle down the lead even with more than a dozen races to work with. Tomac made the outdoor season look easy, for the most part, only briefly losing the points lead to Musquin in July and gaining it right back. And the 250MX title chase was even less closely contested, as a dominant Aaron Plessinger took advantage of injuries to Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin to clinch his second championship of the season with three motos remaining.
But if the moves we’ve seen already in the past week of the silly season are any indication, we’re in for a phenomenal 2019 on the big bikes.
Of course, Anderson will return to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna to defend his Supercross title, but Osborne, the dual 250 indoor and outdoor champion in 2019, will be his new 450 teammate. He’s one of four riders who will be making a full-time jump out of the 250 class, joining Joey Savatgy (Tomac’s newest partner at Monster Energy Kawasaki), Justin Hill (who actually started running a 450 sparingly for AutoTrader/Yoshimura Suzuki in Supercross before switching full-time during the Pro Motocross season), and Plessinger (who earned a multi-year deal to partner Justin Barcia at Monster Energy Yamaha).
That’s a ton of rookie depth to go with the veterans, and that’s without even knowing where a handful of the big names will land. Rumor has it that Cooper Webb, departing the Yamaha squad, will be Musquin’s new teammate at Red Bull KTM. Josh Grant also looks to be out at Kawasaki with Savatgy’s move up.
Add in a clean sheet of paper for Ken Roczen and Cole Seely, both of whom will threaten for plenty of wins if healthy for Honda, the privateer Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM duo of Blake Baggett and Benny Bloss, and whoever partners Hill for Suzuki (both Weston Peick and Justin Bogle missed time due to injury this year), and this may be the deepest 450 class we’ve seen in ages. Hell, even Chad Reed, currently a Supercross-only privateer, proved he’s still got the ability to run up front when he took both holeshots as a fill-in for Suzuki in the Pro Motocross finale at Ironman.
The 250 class should still have plenty of intrigue, though. Both Jeremy and Alex Martin are still racing in the class, with Martin just having signed with Suzuki. Tons of quick riders will populate the fields in both Supercross regions, including Dylan Ferrandis, Austin Forkner, Adam Cianciarulo, Shane McElrath, and RJ Hampshire, among others. In fact, the roster is so deep that even losing four of this year’s top riders to 450s might not make too big of a dent in terms of talent. Crazy, right?
September may be an off month for the sport’s biggest names, but fortunately we’ll get a sneak preview of the 2019 season with October’s Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. I’m already counting down the days—it should be a terrific event, and I can’t wait to get our first look at some of these riders on their new bikes!
The views expressed in Spinning Wheels are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any other entity.